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What Are the Risks of a Nuclear Heart Scan?

The radioactive tracer used during nuclear heart scanning exposes the body to a very small amount of radiation. No long-term effects have been reported from these doses.

Radiation dose might be a concern for people who need multiple scans. However, advances in hardware and software may greatly reduce the radiation dose people receive.

Some people are allergic to the radioactive tracer, but this is rare.

If you have coronary heart disease, you may have chest pain during the stress test while you're exercising or taking medicine to raise your heart rate. Medicine can relieve this symptom.

If you're pregnant, tell your doctor or technician before the scan. It might be postponed until after the pregnancy.

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Last Updated: March 9, 2012